Netflix weaponized $60 million in a battle for LGBTQ rights.
In support of the LGBTQ community, Netflix announced it will not conduct business in North Carolina as long as the state’s House Bill 2 (HB2) is in effect. The law went into effect on March 23, 2016. HB2 reverses a Charlotte mandate that extended some rights to LGBT people. It was partially repealed in 2017 and replaced with HB 142; however, LGBTQ rights activists still recognize a significant problem. Namely, HB 142 blocks districts from establishing non-discrimination statutes that could protect LGBTQ people until 2020.
The streaming giant considered shooting a new series, OBX, in North Carolina as the show takes place in the state. The show’s creator, Jonas Pate, who is from Wilmington, N.C., supports Netflix’s decision to move production unless the state’s government addresses the law.
“This tiny law is costing this town [Wilmington] 70 good, clean, pension-paying jobs and also sending a message to those people who can bring these jobs and more than North Carolina still doesn’t get it,” said Pate.
Netflix estimated approximately $60 million in spending for whichever wins the production.
“We have a tiny window where this could be pulled out of the fire,” Pate continued. “If I get any sense that there is an effort to move the sunset date up, I think I could convince Netflix to change course.”
“That is a decision the legislature has to make and realize that it is one more opportunity we are losing if we don’t,” freshman N.C. Sen. Harper Peterson (D), told the Wilmington Star News.
“We have to get back and be competitive with other states. It just hurts to see a production about North Carolina go to South Carolina.”
OBX is a coming-of-age story about four teenage boys trying to survive after a hurricane cuts all power and communication to a fictional town on North Carolina’s outer banks — a group of barrier islands that form the state’s eastern most border.